Alternate text, or "alt text", provide a way for screen-reader programs to "read" non-text information in your document. For example, if you wish include a photograph of a sunset in your document, the image should include an alt-text that states, “Sunset.” Likewise, if you include images of words that are not digitally-readable text (e.g.. a photograph of a stop sign, clipart showing words in thought-bubbles, etc.), the words in these images should also be placed in alt-text.
NOTE: Images or other elements that do not convey meaningful information and are merely decorative should be made hidden from screen reader software. See STEP SEVEN: Tag decorative images for more information.
Tagging an image that conveys meaning
- With the Touch Up Reading order tool, lasso the non-text element
- Select FIGURE
- The element will now show with a large "X" through it. This indicates a non-text element. You will also see "No alternate text exists" as a label.
Adding Alternate Text to a non-text element
- Place your mouse on the boxed area and right click
- Select Edit Alternate Text
- In the box the pops up, enter the appropriate description for the element. Your alt-text should state or describe the meaningful information that is in the image. It should not begin with the word "image" or "picture of" (etc.).
- Select OK
- Your element will now show the alternate text after the "Figure" text
- Repeat these steps for each image in your document.
TIP: Think of your alt-text as a form of verbal communication. How would you describe this image or diagram to someone over the phone?
After you have tagged all the non-text elements that convey meaning in your document, continue to Step 7: Tag decorative images